On February 12th, residents of the Poungnanoun Village, Houayxai District in Bokeo Province, spotted a number of lifeless fish floating down the Ngao River.
Authorities from the District Agriculture and Forestry Office who have collaborated with local officials, are examining the dead freshwater creatures and speculate that the deaths are attributed to a chemical substance that has yet to be determined.
Vientiane authorities have collected water samples along with a few of the fish carcasses to run a full analysis and the results are scheduled to be revealed this week.
According to officials of the District Agriculture and Forestry Office and the District Health Office, the fish were poisoned by an unidentified chemical substance and the source has still not been discovered.
Villagers and nearby villages along the Ngao River have been warned by officials not to consume any of the fish or other animals fetched from the river until further notice.
Mr. Souvat stated that initially some of the villagers had unknowingly collected the dead fish to take home and feed their families, but fortunately no one has been observed to have been negatively affected.
However, to be cautious, villagers should destroy all dead river life they have obtained.
As of now, everyone is eagerly waiting the results of the analysis from Vientiane capital, says an official. He continues that the Ngao protected river zone is 7 kilometres long, and flows through three villages including Poungnanoun before merging with the Mekong River.
It is said that a local company with a banana farm inhabits a portion of the riverbank that is suspected to be the culprit based on a previous encounter with similar results.
A comparable incident happened on the Toy River along Thibounthong village in the past year, and is the second time that Houayxai district has had this occurrence.
It was disclosed that heavy rainfall had washed a chemical substance from a local banana farm into the Toy River.
It has been noted, however, that the number of dead fish during the Toy River incident is significantly lower than that of this current incident.
Photos: Vientiane Times, Tholakhong